Preparing Investment Properties for Severe Spring and Summer Weather

The weather is beginning to warm up, which means now is a great time to help your clients prepare for the risks that come with spring and summer weather. Thunderstorms, flooding, and tornadoes are approaching. You will want to relay the following information to your investor clients.

Step 1: Get to Know the Risks

The U.S. has around 15 very diverse climates with cities spread across nearly 2.3 billion acres of land. If your investors have properties in several states it may be challenging to keep up with the changing weather conditions in each region. Having property managers that communicate in a timely manner and operate proactively is crucial. Even if their properties are all located within the same city, the unpredictable weather we’ve experienced the past few years requires that investors or their PM be on the ball for anything that could suddenly drop out of the sky…literally! The first step to minimizing loss is becoming familiar with weather conditions in the areas they have invested. The following maps show which areas are most prone to severe thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes, and flooding.

Severe Thunderstorms








At’s safety site, your investor clients can select a state on the map (pictured below) to learn more about the types of flooding experienced and safety measures that can be taken.

Step 2: Make a Plan & Take Action

Remind your clients to make a plan for preparation and take action when necessary. Some items can be done well in advance of a storm approaching, whereas other steps might not be possible or practical to do until just before the storm arrives. Either way, planning in advance will ensure that they are able to act swiftly to protect their properties and any inhabitants in a severe weather event.

Specific preparation for Common Spring and Summer Weather Hazards

Catastrophic weather events can completely destroy investors’ property and even minor storms can create costly damage. Storms may cause power outages that lead to sump pump failures, flooded basements, and damaged furnaces or water heaters. A lack of AC can create a ripe environment for mold growth, and looters may even take advantage of a lack of security due to power outages. Below are the most common spring and summer weather hazards and how you can advise your clients to prepare for said risks.

Thunderstorms & Lightning

In most places, these storms can occur year-round and at any hour of the day.

  1. Sump pump and security alarm should both be connected to battery backups.
  2. Use a generator during power outages (Generators and other alternate power/heat sources should be kept outside, and should never be plugged into a wall outlet.)
  3. After the storm, board up properties that sustained damage to windows and doors to keep trespassers and vandals out.
  4. Read about lightning safety on the NWS website.
  5. Investors should share this FEMA resource with their tenants: Be Prepared for a Thunderstorm, Lightning, or Hail

Wind & Hail

Any area of the U.S. can experience high winds and hail, but the Midwest and Southeast tend to have an increased risk for damage caused by these two perils.

  1. Secure loose gutters and downspouts.
  2. Keep trees and shrubs well maintained so they are more wind-resistant.
  3. Remove dead or dying trees from the property so they can’t fall on the investment, the neighbor’s property, or a passerby.
  4. As storms approach:
    –Move any deck furniture or other items that could become dangerous projectiles when there is a threat of high winds, indoors.
    –Cover all windows. Install permanent storm shutters or board up windows with plywood to help prevent windows from being damaged. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
    –Brace garage doors with additional support from the inside.
  5. Utilize tarps to help keep rain from entering the property and causing additional damage after the initial event.
  6. Read about wind safety on the NWS website.
  7. Investors should share this FEMA resource with their tenants: Be Prepared for a Thunderstorm, Lightning, or Hail


The Midwest and Southeast generally have a greater risk for tornadoes.

  1. Keep up on tree maintenance. Trim dead limbs and remove dead trees to keep flying debris from damaging the main structure.
  2. Instruct tenants to bring in any outdoor furniture and deck or yard decorations if severe weather is in the forecast.
  3. Build a “safe room” to FEMA or ICC 500 standards where tenants can seek refuge.
  4. Read about tornado safety on the NWS website.
  5.  Investors should share this FEMA resource with their tenants: Be Prepared for a Tornado


Any area can be overwhelmed by a flash flood, but some areas are more susceptible to flooding than others. Encourage your clients to add Flood coverage to their insurance strategy. You should inform them that Flood is always purchased separately from property coverage.

  1. Flood risk can be checked on FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center page
  2. Check the grading of soil around their foundation to be sure water will flow away from the house when it rains. Install additional drainage if necessary or regrade problem areas.
  3. Make sure gutters and downspouts are clear of blockages to help shed water away from the home.
  4. Test the sump pump before storms arrive to make sure it comes on when water flows into the sump pit.
  5. Stack sandbags around the perimeter of the house and in front of entryways to prevent rising water from entering the property.
  6. Read about flood safety on the NWS website.
  7. Investors should share this FEMA resource with their tenants: Be Prepared for a Flood 

Insurance Coverages & Responsibilities

Remind your clients not to wait until severe weather is headed their way (or worse, after a storm!) to become familiar with their insurance coverage. As you know, certain coverages aren’t typically included in standard property policies (like Flood). Discovering after the fact that they do not have coverage for certain disasters can severely harm an investor and their business. We are standing by to help you and your clients with any questions, so take advantage of your Sales Manager’s knowledge.

It is also important to remind your clients that they know their responsibilities as an insured. They have a contractual duty to prevent further damage when a loss occurs at their property. Remind them to check the policy section “Duties in the Event of a Loss” for specific responsibilities. Some examples might include; securing the property from unlawful entry after high winds and flying debris damage doors and windows or putting a tarp on a roof that has been compromised by tree damage. Lastly, reminding your clients to report losses as timely as possible can help expedite the claims process and ensure that they don’t lose coverage because they waited too long to report a loss.

In any type of loss, your client will usually be expected to:

  1. Contact their insurance company in a timely manner to advise them of the loss.
  2. Contact the authorities when appropriate.
  3. If a crime has been committed, file a police report.
  4. In the event of a fire, file a fire report.
  5. Take photos or videos of the damage, or both.
  6. Make any necessary temporary repairs to prevent further damage to the property.
  7. Set aside any damaged materials for the adjuster to examine.
  8. Save all receipts from any temporary repairs made.
  9. Get an estimate from a reliable contractor. (Obtaining several is advisable.)

Storm-Related Mitigation Techniques

Boarding Up a Property

When a storm compromises entry points like windows and doors, properly boarding up the property can help deter thieves and vandals. Your investor clients can find reliable board-up tips from the United States Fire Administration here: USFA Board-Up Procedures

Fighting Mold

Mold can set in quickly when a property has sustained even a small amount of water damage. Help clients reduce the risk of mold after a flood with the tips found here.

Beware of Scammers

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people out there looking to take advantage of those who have just suffered a loss, especially after natural disasters. Your clients may not be able to avoid a storm, but if they are on their guard, they could avoid becoming a victim in the aftermath. The Oklahoma Insurance Department recommendations include, but are not limited to, the following advice:

  1. Anyone who offers to get more money for an insurance claim warrants additional caution.
  2. Always hire an established, licensed, and fully insured company. Check the references they give you.
  3. Reputable contractors should be able to provide their certificate of liability insurance. If they have employees, they should also carry worker’s comp coverage.
  4. To help ensure coverage is in force while the contractor is working, investors can ask to be added as an additional insured on their policy. If the policy lapses or cancels, the investor should be notified. In most cases, there is no fee to get your investor client added to the policy.
  5. Never pay a repair bill in full until the work is completed according to the contract with the provider.
  6. A bid substantially lower than other bids for the same scope of work is usually missing something significant. Review all bids carefully to ensure there aren’t items missing or unnecessary items added.
  7. High-pressure tactics can be a red flag. Don’t let the heightened stress following a loss rush the process of hiring a quality service provider.

Further reading

For a broad overview of severe weather preparedness from FEMA, visit’s Sever Weather Preparedness website. Our blog is also a great resource for mitigation and preparedness tips.